Women & Traditional Judaism FAQ

 Q.  Are women encouraged to come to religious services? A.  Encouraged?  Necessary!  TCOMD is not a men’s club.  Q. May women touch the Torah? A. During the Hakafah (Procession) of the Torah from the Heihal (Ark) to the Tevah (Reader’s Desk) women carry the Scroll for half the time.   Q. Do women participate in the service?  A. Women regularly read psalms and may give the Dvar Torah (lesson on the week’s Torah reading).  Women may recite haGomel during the Torah service.   Q. Do women read from the Torah?  A. If a woman is able to read from the Torah opportunity is provided.  Women may not read for men, nor men for women.   Q. Do women serve in leadership roles in the Synagogue?  A. The Board of Directors is open to men and women equally. 

The following articles on the ritual and liturgical roles available to women in a halakhic community are available for study:
Mendel Shapiro, “Qeri’at ha-Torah by Women: A Halakhic Analysis,” The Edah Journal, 2001

Daniel Sperber, “Congregational Dignity and Human Dignity: Women and Public Torah Reading,” The Edah Journal, 2003

Elitzur and Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, “Guide for the Halachic Minyan,” 2008

Michael Broyde and Joel Wolowelsky, “Further On Women As Prayer Leaders & Their Role in Communal Prayer,” Judaism, 42:4, 1993, pp. 387-395

William Friedman, “Women as Shelihot Tzibbur for Hallel on Rosh Hodesh,” Milin Havivin 1, 2005, pp. 84-94

Debby Koren, “Everyone is an Expert in Hallel: On William Friedman’s Women as Shelihot Tzibur for Hallel on Rosh Hodesh” (Hebrew), Milin Havivin 2, 2006, pp. 226-219

William Friedman, “A Response to Debby Koren,” Milin Havivin 2, 2006, pp. 189-194
 Yehuda Herzl Henkin, “Qeri’at Ha-Torah by Women: Where We Stand Today,” The Edah Journal, 2001

Avinoam Rosenak, “‘Dignity of the Congregation’ as a Defense Mechanism: A Halakhic Ruling by Rabbi Joseph Messas,” Nashim, Fall, 2007
Yonatan Gershon – On Women Joining in a Zimmun  HaAretz – Why has the Orthodox Egalitarian Revolution not succeeded in the US? 

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